January 15, 2018

Lesson Wrap-Up: First Ride in over Three Weeks...and it was Good?

Thanks to a number of things - work travel, holiday travel, it being so cold my fingers stopped working within minutes of being outside for what seemed like forever - my lesson on Saturday was the first time I'd ridden since my lesson in mid-December.

First thing I did: take off that goat beard!

It was my first time trying out the Back on Track, and I was determined to be as objective as possible about it.  To give it a fair shake and follow their best practices, I put the saddle pad on under his blanket while I groomed him, then put the quarter sheet on once I'd tacked up.

I did end up putting the quarter sheet under my saddle for lunging.
My trainer suggested I lunge since they'd been in for a couple of days due to ice.  Not because she thought he'd be silly (he wasn't, can I just say how much I love not riding for three weeks AND him being stalled for two straight days and him coming out totally normal like nothing is wrong?) but to be fair to him and get him moving.  So he also lunged in the quarter sheet and saddle pad.

I'm so used to seeing massive horse-sized quarter sheets on him, one that fits looks too small.
I did not expect a great ride.  My trainer has ridden him once and lunged him once in the last three weeks, but otherwise, he's just been a bum. 

And...it was one of the best rides we've had in months.  What?!

The second I got on him he was reaching over his back for the bit.  He came onto my aids pretty effortlessly and very early in the ride, especially considering our normal slogfest warmup. 

He felt incredible, and, trying to be fair to him, I requested we quit early because he hadn't done this in so long, AND he was getting the message today.  The Equisense confirmed we quit at roughly the 30 minute mark.  WOW.

So was it the Back on Track?  Lots of people have said they get shorter warmups using it.  I am inclined to say it was not, as tempting as that is.  Two things happened during the lesson that I think contributed:

1. The exercise we did, shoulder in to small circles, really made a point to both of us.  My trainer made sure I was keeping my leg in the right place per my last lesson, using the right parts of my leg to ask for the inside hind to step up, and I figured out the right rhythm in which to ask.  If the inside hind wasn't stepping forward, I was instructed to reduce the angle of the SI and get the inside hind before trying a circle. 

Any time I felt him get flat or grab the inside rein, I applied the top part of my lower leg in the right rhythm to engage the inside hind - and very quickly that had other side effects too, like his poll coming up when I used it like that.  (Big thank you to the blogger, I can't remember who you are, that wrote about that this week.  It helped me a lot!)

2. My fingers were f-r-o-z-e-n thanks to trying out a new glove setup (and white, thanks to the Reynauds).  And I was really focused on keeping my elbows forward.  I think both of those things combined meant I physically could not pull on him.  My trainer said "If anyone could find something positive about this weather, I guess it's you!"

Even just as a quartersheet without taking into consideration the magic Chinese whatever, I really like this thing.  Full review soon.
So, did not expect that ride to be that amazing, but I'll take it!  And it's always nice when the Equisense backs me up after a ride I feel good about - this is tied for our highest symmetry score ever, and definitely our highest score for a ride this short:


  1. Glad you had such a great first ride back at it!

  2. It's always nice to ease back into riding the first time back. I'm sorry that your impressions of the BoT was not what you were expecting.

    1. Oh I actually LOVED it! I am really trying hard to be objective and skeptical about it, but I can't deny the cold hard fact that the first time I used it his warmup was basically cut in half over what it usually is. Just want to get some more rides in before I call it magic! I thought of you though, I am already pricing the sheet and more pads and the back warmer and and and...:)

    2. Yes, Yes, become addicted like me :P (I have the mattress cover and zomg I have a hard time sleeping without it now.)

  3. he looks good in that BOT quarter sheet. I have the knee brace and love it. I have not bitten the bullet on Remus having any BOT products yet :) I am glad your boy was good no matter what the voodoo! :) He is the cutest with his goat hair (Speaking of which need to trim Remus's too) UGH. :)

  4. I love the BoT products I have, but like you I tend to be skeptical! I'll be interested to hear how it works for you as you build up your sample size.